The capital of Sikkim, Gangtok is famous for the crystal clear view of Mt. Kanchenjunga and a panoramic mountain skyline. Gangtok is the destination if you are looking for prismatic beauty, Himalayan adventure activities, and indigenous culture. There are numerous Himalayan hill towns, but Gangtok is the best choice for those who love an outdoor vacation.
Gangtok means hilltop and the place has an apt name because it is surrounded by majestic peaks. Thanks to the Himalayan mountainous landscape, you can find many interesting attractions like waterfalls, viewpoints, high-altitude lakes, and much more. Such a unique climate and landscape make Gangtok, the right place for spotting numerous species of orchids and wild floral varieties. However, remember to choose summer to enjoy such a colorful vacation. Gangtok is the window to China. Reach the Nathula Pass and see Chinese soldiers guarding their border, or get a bird’s eye view by riding the ropeway, which runs for one kilometer.
Gangtok’s history is partly unknown and mystic. It was a tiny boondock for monasteries and Buddhism communities until 19 th century. Later, it became an important pilgrimage destination. Soon, British converted into a trade center. Today, the land is a cultural and natural holiday destination. The second best element about Gangtok is the culture. Since it is the border land, the place is filled with numerous communities from surrounding countries. This cultural diversity is the identity of Gangtok.
Presenting extreme beauty and scenic views, Gangtok, the capital city of Sikkim, is a paradise which a traveller would never want to miss out on. This hill station is a package for every kind of traveller. Trekkers on coming here will get some heavenly experience as this destination provides trekking opportunities to the Himalayan ranges. Wonderful hill roads, varied and unique cultural identities, natural beauty all around, what else does a tourist need for their vacation to go well. The meaning of Gangtok is 'hill-top' and when preparing travel itinerary to Sikkim, you should surely include this capital city. It is an ideal package of everything which a visitor wants to include in their list for some unforgettable time.
Best time to visit
Summer season offers pleasant weather to the tourists who come here. It is regarded to be the best time to visit Gangtok as one can easily escape the heat during this time. The combination of cool breeze and warm sunlight is something which will make you go delighted.
How to visit
Siliguri is the ideal place from where you should travel to Gangtok while choosing the option of roadways. For this purpose, one can hire a public bus, private taxi or a shared cab. The distance between Siliguri and Gangtok is 114 kms.
New Jalpaiguri is the nearest railway station to Gangtok which has its location around 117 kms from the capital city. You can comfortably opt for train travel till New Jalpaiguri and from there you can easily hire some jeep or private taxi to reach Gangtok.
If one wants to come to Gangtok by air, then Bagdogra in West Bengal stands as the nearest airport. It is around 124 km away from the city of Gangtok. After reaching the airport, you can take a private taxi or a cab which will take a few hours to make you step in the capital city of Sikkim.
Where to Eat the Perfect Food
This is a restaurant, also can be referred to as lounge, which has speciality in preparing Continental, Chinese and North Indian cuisines. Alcohol is also served at this place. And you can find this restaurant open even after 10 in the night.
Tourists come to this place to experience Tibetan, Sikkimese and Nepalese food. You should definitely try Nakimo Ka Torkari and Sisnu Ko Jhol. The interiors here have aspect of Sikkim culture in them.
If one wants to have Korean food while being in Sikkim, then you can definitely try coming to this place. It is highly affordable and will not make you go disappointed.
It is a small eatery which cooks vegetarian food for the visitors. Cupcakes, pizzas and other delicacies should surely be on your list when you step in here at this cafe.
A classic food option for the travellers, Roll House is a place where you can order momos, rolls and other dishes at some cheap prices. Both vegetarian and non-vegetarian food can be ordered at this place.
Hamro Bhansar Ghar
This peaceful restaurant specialises in making Nepalese cuisines. You can fill up your stomach at much cheaper prices with some delicious dishes.
There are many more food places which a visitor to Gangtok can explore. Here in the capital city, you can find both vegetarian and non-vegetarian eateries to choose from. Just ask some localite or look through the internet, to get some idea of the perfect restaurants and cafes.
Best Places to Visit
If one wants to experience the scenic natural beauty and enjoy the wonderful views, then Nathula Pass is the perfect destination for you. It is a part of the ancient silk route that connected India and Tibet. It is complete adventure to drive through its steep slope which is at a height of 14,140 ft. During the summer and autumn season, it gets flooded up with large number of visitors. Winter season is not ideal to come here as the road gets blocked due to snowfall. On Monday and Tuesday, the road is closed so one should plan their travel itinerary accordingly.
If one has plenty time to spend in Gangtok, then Tsomgo Lake should definitely be paid a visit. Finding its location at an altitude of 12,400 ft. above sea level, this lake is situated amidst high mountains. It recieves the water from the snow that melts from these mountains. The unique feature of this lake is its changing colour with changing season. During winters, it gets frozen while blooming flowers appear during summer.
Himalayan Zoological Park
Exploring fauna in the region can be done in the Himalayan Zoological Park which is the first zoo of the state. Here, you can find Himalayan black bears, Himalayan civets, Red pandas and snow leopards. Replicated natural habitats are created for the animals to be kept. All this makes it a pleasant place. It is at height of 1,780 metres from where one can have view of splendid Mt. Kanchenjunga.
This hanuman temple is located at some height of about 7,200 ft. It is one of the most famous tourist destinations in Gangtok. Travellers come to this place because of the serene environment it presents. Lush greenery and the scenic hills around make this site a peaceful one.
Namgyal Institute of Tibetology
If one wants to know about the history of Buddhism, then Namgyal Institute of Tibetology stands as the right destination. It is regarded to be a keeper of things related to Tibetan culture. Art work, manuscripts, objects, mementos and everything related to Tibetan documents and literature can be found here. 14th Dalai Lama put the foundation stone of this place.
By default MG Marg falls in the travel itinerary of every person who comes to visit Gangtok. Do try exploring this vehicle-free zone to know more about the way of life in the capital city. This buzzing market has some restaurants, cafes and souvenir stores from where one can order different things.
Flower Exhibition Center
Located at walking distance from MG Marg, the flower exhibition center is a destination where huge kinds of flowers from across Sikkim can be found. The nature enthusiasts will definitely consider this place as some heaven for them. The annual flower show from April to May is held every year. This center is home to many kinds of plants, and one can just sit and enjoy in its pleasant ambience.
This splendid monastery should surely be on your list of places to visit when you come to Gangtok. Here you can enjoy some scenic views and get the opportunity to interact with the Buddhist monks. One thing which should be kept in mind is that the way of life and faith of monks should be respected while interacting with them. It is surrounded by forests all around. The serene environment here lets you enjoy by being away from hustle bustle of modern city life.
One of the largest monasteries of Sikkim, this Rumtek Monastery is situated on a hilltop. This spectacular monastery is built in traditional Tibetan style. It is a three-storied building which has some prayer hall with statues, tangkhas and stunning murals. This monastery belongs to the Kargyu sect of Buddhists. It is considered to be one of the world's finest architecture work. It has the backdrop of giant hills and waterfalls which contribute in making it beautiful destination for the visitors.
Spectacular views of the Mt. Kanchenjunga, pleasant ambience and Lord Ganesha, all this makes up for the Ganesh Tok. It is one of the most popular destination among the tourists who come to this city. It is quite small, but people come here to enjoy the beautiful views and ambience it provides. Large number of visitors come to this destination which is set at an altitude of 6,500 ft.
Therefore, before stepping in Gangtok, you need to look at all the best places and best time to visit it. Travel itinerary should be carefully made because this capital city has a lot to offer to the tourists and you should not miss out on the scenic beauty and popular destinations here. Any traveler who comes up here definitely goes back to their home with some unforgettable experience. This city of Gangtok never disappoints anyone. Rather it leaves you in awe with its extensive natural beauty, food, culture, places and whatnot.
The city is famous for its long list of religious and regional festivals and a unique fusion cuisine. Do you want to enjoy the culture of the land? You ought to visit during any festival and enjoy traditional activities. If you are up for adventure time, you should choose the right month that allows you to experience both water and high altitude activities. Are you planning a friends’ tour? Remember to cover all the nightlife destinations of Gangtok. In a nutshell, Gangtok is what you want it to be and how you craft your itinerary.
Below are some of the top suggested Gangtok Tour Packages, which covers the essence of Gangtok in short tours or give an in-depth introduction to the culture and heritage of the land with long tours. You can pick a specific theme for your vacation in North East India or have a holistic tour in this Himalayan kaleidoscopic paradise.